Disneyland shuts down cooling towers after Legionnaires' cases

11 November, 2017, 23:23 | Author: Eloise Marshall
  • Disneyland shuts down cooling towers after reported disease outbreak

Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers at its theme park after a dozen cases, including one death, from Legionnaire's disease - a serious respiratory illness caused by the Legionella bacteria - were reported in Anaheim.

Crowds fill rafts to Tom Sawyer Island with New Orleans Square in the background sometime in 2015.

According to the Los Angeles Times, 12 cases of Legionnaires disease were discovered three weeks ago in people who had recently visited Disneyland.

The Orange County Health Care Agency said 12 people aged 52 to 94 contracted the disease. One patient, who hadn't visited the park, has died, the agency said.

Disneyland discovered the contamination last month and has taken the towers out of service for disinfection.

The disease is treatable, but roughly one in 10 people who contract the disease die from it, with people over 50 with weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease most at risk. Of that total, nine had visited the park in September, and the remainder lived or traveled in Anaheim. The park and a contractor tested the cooling towers and found elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe lung infection that spreads through mist, often generated through air conditioning units.

"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel.

The county health agency has also alerted health care providers to look for Legionnaires' disease in anyone who may have become ill after visiting Anaheim or Disneyland before November 7.

"On October 27, 2017, when the Disneyland Park was identified as a common location of eight (8) cases, HCA contacted the Disney organization and set up site visits at the Park to assess potential sources".

The health agency said there is no ongoing risk to the public and no other cases have been reported, although they cautioned public health officials to be aware of the situation. The incubation period is two to 10 days before symptoms appear, after exposure to the bacteria. The disease is not contagious from person to person.

Ten of the 12 people who became ill were hospitalized.

Orange County has recorded more than 55 cases of the disease this year and the number of cases in the county has increased in recent years.

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